Mercy Corps

Mel Director (Developmental Evaluator)

Mercy Corps

Job Description


About Mercy Corps

Mercy Corps is powered by the belief that a better world is possible. To do this, we know our teams do their best work when they are diverse and every team member feels that they belong. We welcome diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be stronger and have long term impact.

The Program

USAID’s Resilience in the Sahel Enhanced (RISE) II, the Sahel Development Partnership (SDP) and Bridge offer a pathway to maximize development outcomes in areas affected by recurrent, protracted and chronic shocks and stresses. As mutually reinforcing, multi-sector strategies, they underscore the imperative for diverse development and humanitarian stakeholders to work more closely together towards collective impact.

A sharp focus is needed on aligning these investments under a shared vision and coordinated approach. Strengthened collaboration through joint Analysis, planning, and implementation—underpinned by iterative learning and frequent course correction through adaptive management—provide a compass for working together in a complexity-aware manner and bringing to life a portfolio of mutually reinforcing impact.

Mercy Corps, together with our partners Equal Access International and Tulane University, and with support from Burkina Faso-based Centre pour la Gouvernance Démocratique, form the Sahel Collaboration and Communication Activity (SCC). SCC will operationalize a collaborative, complexity-aware way of working to harness RISE II, SDP and Bridge investments and complementary donor, community, government, and private sector efforts into a cohesive and impactful portfolio.

The Position

Developmental evaluation (DE) is an evaluation approach that promotes strategic learning and innovation by “collecting and analyzing real-time data in ways that lead to informed and ongoing decision making as part of the design, development, and implementation process”. SCC will promote Developmental Evaluation by embedding an evaluator, who is also lead of the Monitoring, Evaluation and Learning (MEL) team, which will be titled, the MEL Director/Developmental Evaluator, in the SCC program team. The MEL Director/DE will embody the principles and practices common to CLA and adaptive management to implement SCC’s MEL system. The MEL Director/DE will provide continuous real-time feedback using multiple evaluation approaches and ensures that learning processes are embedded across the program cycle. In addition to the core CLA functions, the Specialist is responsible for the SCC’s M&E functions, contributing to a Shared Measurement System, data collection, protection and storage, data presentation and reporting, partner Coordination, and Capacity Building. The MEL Director/DE will be embedded in the SCC program team to guide the work of the MEL team, coordinate with implementing partner MEL units and research partners and work with technical and program teams to drive the use of CLA internally and across implementing partners. The MEL Director/DE will be responsible for helping stakeholders evaluate and learn in real-time, cultivating stakeholder support and engagement in learning and adapting lessons learned, as well as communicating and rigorously documenting progress around collective impact and collaboration for sharing and replication.

The MEL Director/DE will have additional Technical Support from Mercy Corps HQ MEL team throughout the implementation of the program and will ultimately report to the Deputy Chief of Party and Chief of Party and is also expected to interact closely with partner CLA and Resilience Technical Leads, and to coordinate with Tulane University in addressing the Shared Learning Agenda and communication partners to share relevant lessons, tools, insights.

Essential Job Responsibilities

The MEL Director/Developmental Evaluator will be responsible for using a developmental evaluation approach to design and implement CLA and the MEL System, which will include the following key tasks:


  • Refine and operationalize the monitoring and evaluation strategy (AMELP) that is used to guide SCC’s MEL and DE work, focused on learning and collaboration to support SCC to adapt, as needed, while meeting USAID requirements.
  • Coordinate with and/or orient other teams as necessary
  • Participate in Program Management meetings and strategy sessions and lead MEL team to operationalize and effectively report on SCC progress.


  • Develop a living evaluation workplan for the life of the program, including agreed upon deliverables as well as key learning and dissemination events
  • Lead and develop data collection systems to measure SCC performance indicators and to implement the evaluation strategy
  • Conduct data analysis and present preliminary and final findings to all relevant stakeholders
  • Manage teams to conduct evaluation activities
  • Present evaluation findings that include recommendations on how to adapt SCC programming as a result of evaluation findings and develop metrics to track these adaptations
  • Provide quality assurance of all evaluation deliverables
  • Lead or help support MEL team members to lead M&E working groups


  • Engage all relevant stakeholders (leadership, implementer points of contact, researchers, government stakeholders, donors/USAID etc.)
  • Maintain working relationships with relevant stakeholders, including USAID and other USAID partners, providing regular work plan progress and strategic updates.


  • Facilitate conversations and strategic learning events with the Learning and Collaboration working groups and teams;
  • Engage member buy-in by presenting the business case for participation and adoption of recommendations; promoting a culture of CLA and “DE”


  • Ensure quality and support the MEL team to produce quarterly and annual PITT (Performance Indicator Tracking Table) based on data coming from the activity tracker or any other tracking system he/she may put in place;
  • Engage with members of the SCC consortium to collect their quarterly and annual narrative reports based on the approved SCC’s template and guidance
  • Ensure quality, work with Grants/Programs Manager and consortium members to draft SCC’s narrative reporting, making sure there is correlation between the narration and the numbers compiled in the PITT
  • Present quarterly and annual performance data to the SCC program staff during the internal learning sessions, indicating the strengths and weaknesses of program activities during the reporting period and propose adaptation measures for improvement. Set up quarterly meetings with USAID and Mercy Corps HQ for these audiences.
  • Ensure there is a system in place to document all events that occur (i.e. planned, unplanned), including the associated outcomes of these events


  • Assist team members with information, tools and resources to improve performance & reach objectives; responsible for overall data quality and culture of CLA and “DE”.
  • Develop plans to mentor and coach relevant staff to build their capacity to enable them to adopt recommendations and practices from lessons learned.
  • Promote accountability, communicate expectations and provide constructive feedback informally and formally via regular one on ones and performance reviews.
  • Create and sustain a work environment of mutual respect where team members strive to achieve excellence.
  • Play an active role in hiring, orienting and leading team members as necessary.
  • Collaborate closely and in partnership with HQ and regional MEL and Resilience advisors.


  • Ensure compliance with security procedures and policies as determined by country leadership.
  • Proactively ensure that team members operate in a secure environment and are aware of policies.

Supervisory Responsibility

MEL Coordinator, CLA Coordinator and overall MEL and CLA team supervision (MEL Officers, CLA Officers, etc)


Reports Directly To: Chief of Party

Works Directly With: Research and Learning Manager (Tulane University), Technical Leads, Implementing Partner M&E and CLA staff and the Global Resilience Monitoring, Evaluation, Research and Learning Advisor, Knowledge Management Team, Communications Manager (EAI) and team; Mercy Corps Niger and Burkina Faso support staff.

Accountability to Participants and Stakeholders

Mercy Corps team members are expected to support all efforts toward accountability, specifically to our program participants, community partners, other stakeholders, and to international standards guiding international relief and development work. We are committed to actively engaging communities as equal partners in the design, monitoring and evaluation of our field projects.

Minimum Qualifications & Transferable Skills

  • BA/S or equivalent, preferably in business Administration, public administration or international development. MA/S in Social Science, Organizational Theory/Behavior/Communications, International Development, or relevant field strongly preferred.
  • 8-10 years of experience in the areas of program development and monitoring and evaluation, including relevant experience as an external evaluator
  • Extensive technical knowledge, skills, and expertise in evaluation design, CLA, concepts, and approaches, and evaluating complexity, in particular;
  • Facilitation skills, particularly related to programmatic and organizational learning;
  • Demonstrated Developmental Evaluation skills and attributes, such as;
  • Respect for local stakeholders and partners, ethical research (maintains confidentiality and anonymity when required), flexibility, energy, humility, willingness to learn on the go, and ability to resolve conflicts.
  • Strong analytical skills to support both qualitative and quantitative research
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in both English and French
  • Must have extensive training skills and experience working with a variety of donors, including USAID.
  • High degree of computer literacy; Excel and Word skills are essential; statistical packages such as SPSS, SAS, R, etc. helpful.
  • Ability to manage and meet deadlines.
  • Ability to work independently on multi-task load.
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills.
  • Internationally recognized qualification in project or program management or a commitment to obtain the qualification in the early months of work.
  • Fluency in French and English

Success Factors

The ideal candidate will have a strong curiosity for understanding and working effectively within the complex cultural, political, security and social environment of Niger and Burkina Faso. This person will be an excellent communicator, multi-tasker, and have analytical skills, plus the ability to work in ambiguous situations and lead. This person will be a tolerant and flexible individual able to work in difficult and stressful environments and follow procedures. The successful candidate will be focused on team-building and capacity-building of national staff; be a strategic thinker, have strong skills in design monitoring and evaluation and CLA of development programs and maintain a sense of humor.

Living Conditions / Environmental Conditions

The position is based in Niamey, Niger and it requires up to 30% travel between Burkina Faso and Niger, as well as potentially to Senegal. The location is accompanied. Housing is individual accommodation with unlimited freedom of movement beyond the house/office. There are international schools in Niger. Staff have fair access to (services – medical, electricity, water, etc.). This position may require travel by air to field locations in relatively insecure environments and climatically harsh conditions.

Mercy Corps team members represent the agency both during and outside work hours when deployed in a field posting or on a visit/TDY to a field posting. Team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner and respect local laws, customs and MC's policies, procedures, and values at all times and in all in-country venues.

Ongoing Learning

In support of our belief that learning organizations are more effective, efficient and relevant to the communities we serve, we empower all team members to dedicate 5% of their time to learning activities that further their personal and/or professional growth and development

Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

Achieving our mission begins with how we build our team and work together. Through our commitment to enriching our organization with people of different origins, beliefs, backgrounds, and ways of thinking, we are better able to leverage the collective power of our teams and solve the world's most complex challenges. We strive for a culture of trust and respect, where everyone contributes their perspectives and authentic selves, reaches their potential as individuals and teams, and collaborates to do the best work of their lives.

We recognize that diversity and inclusion is a journey, and we are committed to learning, listening and evolving to become more diverse, equitable and inclusive than we are today.

Equal Employment Opportunity

Mercy Corps is an equal opportunity employer that does not tolerate discrimination on any basis. We actively seek out diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and skills so that we can be collectively stronger and have sustained global impact.

We are committed to providing an environment of respect and psychological safety where equal employment opportunities are available to all. We do not engage in or tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, color, gender identity, gender expression, religion, age, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, disability (including HIV/AIDS status), marital status, military veteran status or any other protected group in the locations where we work.

Safeguarding & Ethics

Mercy Corps is committed to ensuring that all individuals we come into contact with through our work, whether team members, community members, program participants or others, are treated with respect and dignity. We are committed to the core principles regarding prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse laid out by the UN Secretary General and IASC. We will not tolerate Child Abuse, sexual exploitation, abuse, or harassment by or of our team members. As part of our commitment to a safe and inclusive work environment, team members are expected to conduct themselves in a professional manner, respect local laws and customs, and to adhere to Mercy Corps Code of Conduct Policies and values at all times. Team members are required to complete mandatory Code of Conduct elearning courses upon hire and on an annual basis.

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